Tyler Burge presents an original study of the most primitive ways in which individuals represent the physical world. By reflecting on the science of perception and related psychological and biological sciences, he gives an account of constitutive conditions for perceiving the physical world, and thus aims to locate origins of representational mind.
The paper develops a conception of epistemic warrant as applied to perceptual belief, called "entitlement", that does not require the warranted individual to be capable of understanding the warrant. The conception is situated within an account of animal perception and unsophisticated perceptual belief. It characterizes entitlement as fulfillment of an epistemic norm that is apriori associated with a certain representational function that can be known apriori to be a function of perception. The paper connects anti-individualism, a thesis about the nature (...) of mental states, and perceptual entitlement. It presents an argument that explains the objectivity and validity of perceptual entitlement partly in terms of the nature of perceptual states–hence the nature of perceptual beliefs, which are constitutively associated with perceptual states. The paper discusses ways that an individual can be entitled to perceptual belief through its connection to perception, and ways that entitlement to perceptual belief can be undermined. (shrink)
This essay is a long one. It is not meant to be read in a single sitting. Its structure is as follows. In section I, I explicate perceptual anti-individualism. Section II centers on the two aspects of the representational content of perceptual states. Sections III and IV concern the nature of the empirical psychology of vision, and its bearing on the individuation of perceptual states. Section V shows how what is known from empirical psychology undermines disjunctivism and hence certain further (...) views that entail it, including naive realism. In Section VI, I raise a further point against disjunctivism. Section VII indicates how general reflection on perceptual perspective and epistemic ability supports the constraints from empirical psychology. It also explains how reflection on veridicality conditions, psychological explanation, and cognitive ability conspire to force recognition of the two kinds of representation mentioned in the preceding paragraph. In the Appendix, I criticize attempts to support disjunctivism. (shrink)
Argument for Epiphenomenalism [I]: (A) Mental event-tokens are identical with physical event-tokens. (B) The causal powers of a physical event are determined only by its physical properties; and (C) mental properties are not reducible to physical properties.
Tyler Burge presents a collection of his seminal essays on Gottlob Frege (1848-1925), who has a strong claim to be seen as the founder of modern analytic philosophy, and whose work remains at the centre of philosophical debate today. Truth, Thought, Reason gathers some of Burge's most influential work from the last twenty-five years, and also features important new material, including a substantial introduction and postscripts to four of the ten papers. It will be an essential resource for any historian (...) of modern philosophy, and for anyone working on philosophy of language, epistemology, or philosophical logic. (shrink)
The paper develops a conception of epistemic warrant as applied to perceptual belief, called “entitlement”, that does not require the warranted individual to be capable of understanding the warrant. The conception is situated within an account of animal perception and unsophisticated perceptual belief. It characterizes entitlement as fulfillment of an epistemic norm that is apriori associated with a certain representational function that can be known apriori to be a function of perception. The paper connects anti-individualism, a thesis about the nature (...) of mental states, and perceptual entitlement. It presents an argument that explains the objectivity and validity of perceptual entitlement partly in terms of the nature of perceptual states-hence the nature of perceptual beliefs, which are constitutively associated with perceptual states. The paper discusses ways that an individual can be entitled to perceptual belief through its connection to perception, and ways that entitlement to perceptual belief can be undermined. (shrink)
In Burge [Disjunctivism and perceptual psychology. Philosophical Topics 33: 1–78, 2005], I criticized several versions of disjunctivism. McDowell defends his version against my criticisms in McDowell [Tyler Burge on disjunctivism. Philosophical Explorations 13: 243–55, 2010]. He claims that my general characterization fails to apply to his view. I show that this claim fails because it overlooks two elements in my characterization. I elaborate and extend my criticisms of his disjunctivism. I criticize his positions on infallibility and indefeasibility, and reinforce my (...) earlier charges that his views on perception and epistemology are hyper-intellectualized. The central point in my rejection of his disjunctivism concerns his claim that the science of perceptual psychology is irrelevant to his disjunctivist classification of perceptual states. I hold that this claim shows lack of familiarity with the science and serious misunderstanding of it. The basic deficiency in McDowell's disjunctivism is that it, like other versions, is incompatible with well-established scientific knowledge. (shrink)
Among psychologists, it is widely thought that infants well under age 3, monkeys, apes, birds, and dogs have been shown to have rudimentary capacities for representing and attributing mental states or relations. I believe this view to be mistaken. It rests on overinterpreting experiments. It also often rests on assuming that one must choose between taking these individuals to be mentalists and taking them to be behaviorists. This assumption underestimates a powerful nonmentalistic, nonbehavioristic explanatory scheme that centers on attributing action (...) with targets and on causation of action by interlocking, internal conative, and sensory states. Neither action with targets, nor conative states, nor sensing entails mentality. The scheme can attribute conative states and relations, efficiency, sensory states and relations, sensory retention, sensory anticipation, affect, and appreciation of individual differences. The scheme can ground explanations of false belief tests that do not require infants or nonhuman animals to use language. After the scheme is explained and applied, it is contrasted with other, superficially similar schemes proposed in the literature---for example, those of Gergely and Csibra, Wellman and Gopnik, Perner and Roessler, Flavell, and Apperly and Butterfill. Better methods for testing are briefly discussed. (shrink)
The first part of the paper focuses on the role played in thought and action by possession of the first‐person concept. It is argued that only one who possesses the I concept is in a position to fully articulate certain fundamental, a priori aspects of the concept of reason. A full understanding of the concept of reason requires being inclined to be affected or immediately motivated by reasons—to form, change or confirm beliefs or other attitudes in accordance with them—when those (...) reasons apply to one's own attitudes. The cases where rational evaluations of acts and attitudes rationally motivate immediate implementation of the evaluations to shape the acts and attitudes are distinguished from cases where they do not, by the use of the first‐person concept to mark those acts and attitudes as one's own. The second part of the paper examines asymmetries between self‐knowledge and knowledge of other minds. The usual view that self‐knowledge has an immediate and a priori warrant, whereas knowledge of others’ minds rests on observation and inference is disputed. A sketch is given of knowledge of other minds that can be non‐inferential and can rest on an intellectual, non‐perceptual entitlement. When one seemingly understands an utterance in interlocution, one is a priori prima facie entitled to suppose that it comes from a rational source, and because knowledge of other minds can be immediate and epistemically grounded in intellectual, non‐empirical entitlements, it is distinguished from self‐knowledge not by being necessarily inferential or by being necessarily grounded in perception, but by being in some known contrast with thought known as one's own. (shrink)
It is argued that david lewis' account of convention in "convention" required too much self-Consciousness of parties participating in a convention. In particular, It need not be known that there are equally good alternatives to the convention. This point affects other features of the definition, And suggests that the account is too much guided by the "rational assembly" picture of human conventions. (edited).
A central preoccupation of philosophy in the twentieth century was to determine constitutive conditions under which accurate (objective) empirical representation of the macrophysical environment is possible. A view that dominated attitudes on this project maintained that an individual cannot empirically represent a physical subject matter as having specific physical characteristics unless the individual can represent some constitutive conditions under which such representation is possible. The version of this view that dominated the century's second half maintained that objective empirical representation of (...) the physical environment requires the individual to be able to supplement this representation with representation of general constitutive features of objectivity. This essay criticizes instances of this version in P. F. Strawson and Quine. It maintains that all versions of the position postulate conditions on objective empirical representation that are more intellectual than are warranted. Such views leave it doubtful that animals and human infants perceptually represent elements in the physical environment. By appeal to common sense and to empirical perceptual psychology, this essay argues that unaided perception yields objective representation of the macrophysical environment. It does so in prelinguistic animals, even in animals that almost surely lack propositional attitudes. The essay concludes with explications of nondeflationary conceptions of representation and perception. It distinguishes nonperceptual sensing from perceptual representation and explicates perceptual representation as a type of objective sensory representation. Objectivity is marked by perceptual constancies. Representation is marked by a nontrivial role for veridicality conditions in explanations of the relevant states. (shrink)
Cognition Through Understanding presents a selection of Tyler Burge's essays that use epistemology to illumine powers of mind. The essays focus on epistemic warrants that differ from those warrants commonly discussed in epistemology--those for ordinary empirical beliefs and for logical and mathematical beliefs. The essays center on four types of cognition warranted through understanding--self-knowledge, interlocution, reasoning, and reflection. Burge argues that by reflecting on warrants for these types of cognition, one better understands cognitive powers that are distinctive of persons, and (...) of human beings. The collection presents three previously unpublished independent essays, in addition to substantial, retrospective commentary. The retrospective commentary invites the reader to make connections that were not fully in mind when the essays were written. (shrink)
I shall propose five theses on de re states and attitudes. To be a de re state or attitude is to bear a peculiarly direct epistemic and representational relation to a particular referent in perception or thought. I will not dress this bare statement here. The fifth thesis tries to be less coarse. The first four explicate and restrict context- bound, singular, empirical representation, which constitutes a significant and central type of de re state or attitude.
Maps and realist pictures comprise prominent sub-classes of iconic representations. The most basic, most important sub-class is perception. Other types are drawings, photographs, musical notations, diagrams, bar graphs, abacuses, hieroglyphs, and color chits.
The paper scrutinizes Frege's Euclideanism - his view of arithmetic and geometry as resting on a small number of self-evident axioms from which non-self-evident theorems can be proved. Frege's notions of self-evidence and axiom are discussed in some detail. Elements in Frege's position that are in apparent tension with his Euclideanism are considered - his introduction of axioms in The Basic Laws of Arithmetic through argument, his fallibilism about mathematical understanding, and his view that understanding is closely associated with inferential (...) abilities. The resolution of the tensions indicates that Frege maintained a sophisticated and challenging form of rationalism, one relevant to current epistemology and parts of the philosophy of mathematics. (shrink)
I want to reflect on some functions of memory and their relations to traditional issues about personal identity. I try to elicit ways in which having memory, with its presupposition of agent identity over time, is integral to being a person, indeed to having a representational mind.